“. . . that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).
IF GOD’S CREATION IS MADE UP OF “UNIQUE” PARTS, IT’S ALSO TRUE THAT THE PARTS ARE “INTERCONNECTED.” No part can act (or fail to act) without having some impact on the other parts. God has constructed the world in such a way that the “ripple effect” is one of its characteristics. Even the least pebble thrown into the pond sends out rings of influence that spread and spread and spread.
It does good to do good. When we face difficult circumstances, one of the devil’s worst lies is that the situation is hopeless: “There is nothing you can do that will make a difference,” he would say. The truth is, however, it always does good to do good. We don’t need to see in advance how it’s all going to work out; we just need to act in the confidence that good deeds will have a good impact.
It does evil to do evil. The world being interconnected, of course, it’s also true that evil deeds have an impact. Whether we can see it or not, doing evil always contributes to an evil outcome.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about all of this is that even the small things and the secret things we do change the world in some way. When I am sitting alone in my room and make a decision either to do or not do the thing I know God would want me to do at that moment, by my decision I either add a little bit of goodness to the world or take a little out. Whether we can see it from our perspective or not, every choice we make impacts the world to which we are connected, either for better or for worse.
Recognizing that our actions always have some impact on others, we should resolve that our influence will always be for good and never for evil. We don’t have the luxury of considering only ourselves. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). So let’s take responsibility for the effect we are having on the other parts and members of God’s creation. There is too much darkness already — we dare not add to it. In every single thing we do, let there be light.
“Keep in mind that each of you has your own vineyard. But every one is joined to your neighbor’s vineyards without any dividing lines. They are so joined together, in fact, that you cannot do good or evil for yourself without doing the same for your neighbors” (Catherine of Siena).